Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (2023)

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (1)


  • What is Qualitative Research?
  • Types of Qualitative Research
  • Features of Qualitative Research Methods
  • Methods of Qualitative Research

Do you know that qualitative research is divided into several types? If not then this is where your search ends.

Qualitative research is one of the two major types of research. It uses human-centered and interpretive methods to explore meanings and experiences.

There are many different types of qualitative research, which differ in terms of their goals and how they approach data collection.

Qualitative researchers use field notes, interviews, life histories, discourse analysis, ethnography, or case studies to investigate these meanings.

This blog will help you understand some common types of qualitative research. So that you can choose the best one to answer your research question.

Continue reading to learn the difference between them.

What is Qualitative Research?

The qualitative research approach is defined as market-based research that emphasizes collecting the data through communication. It primarily deals with human behavior.

Furthermore, it is applied across many academic disciplines. It also does not necessarily test the hypothesis about the qualitative data. But is often used to develop an in-depth understanding of social work problems.

Apart from that, qualitative research has a huge background in sociology. It is used by social scientists to examine the behavior of different people through a subjective approach.

Similarly, it also investigates symbols and meaning to create new theories that can be further tested. Qualitative researchers use different methods from quantitative researchers.

Types of Qualitative Research

There are six main types of qualitative research studies that are widely used in educational, business, and government organizations. These include:

  1. 1. Phenomenological Method
  2. This type includes a description of how a participant experiences a particular event. Here, a researcher uses observation, surveys, and conducts in-depth interviews to accumulate data.

    Moreover, it focuses on the participant’s feelings during a particular event or activity. Most of businesses employ this type to help sales representatives in closing their sales.

    The below-mentioned document will help you with writing a phenomenological method research paper.

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (2)

Phenomenological Method Research Paper (PDF)

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(Video) 5 Types of Qualitative Research Design

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (3) Paper Due? Why suffer? That’s our job! Click here to learn more.

2. Ethnographic Research

This model is the most popular and widely recognized method. It analyzes people in their naturally occurring environment as a data source. The main goal is to learn the motivations, cultural challenges, and settings that happen.

Apart from this, it engages the researcher for extended periods of time. It is further used to understand the customer in a business model and can continue from a few days to years.

This time-consuming and challenging data collection method entirely depends on the researcher’s expertise to observe, and examine the data.

Read the document below for a clear understanding.

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (4)

Ethnographic Research Paper (PDF)

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3. Grounded Theory Method

This approach elaborates on why a course of action has evolved the way it did. These theoretical paradigms are formed on the basis of biological, generic, or psychological science.

Corporations make use of this method while conducting user satisfaction surveys. It explains why a customer uses a company’s product or service. Such information helps to manage customer’s loyalty and satisfaction.

(Video) Types of Qualitative Research Designs ~GM Lectures

We have mentioned a grounded theory model research paper for you to get a detailed idea.

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (5)

Grounded Theory Research Paper (PDF)

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4. Case Study Model

The case study model gives a comprehensive understanding of one subject. It can be an individual, business, family, or town. In addition, the data is obtained from different sources and collected to make a bigger conclusion

Many businesses use this technique when marketing new customers. It tells them how their business solutions can solve a specific problem.

Have a look at the below-mentioned document for further help.

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (6)

Case Study Research Paper (PDF)

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(Video) PRACTICAL RESEARCH 1 - Types of Qualitative Research - EP.6 (Research Simplified)

5. Historical Model

The historical method illustrates past events to present patterns and anticipating future choices. It answers hypothetical data-based questions and uses the research to test them.

Some business firms use previous ad campaigns and test them with new ones. It is done to determine which is the most effective campaign.

Check out the example given below of a research paper using a historical model

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (7)

Historical Model Research Paper (PDF)

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6. Narrative Model

This model occurs for a longer time period and assembles the gathered data. In narrative research, the subjects are taken from a starting point and situations are reviewed as obstacles or opportunities.

Though the end result does not always appear in chronological order. Businesses use it to describe buyer personas and classify innovations that attract the target market.

Read the sample research paper given below:

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (8)

Narrative Model Research Paper (PDF)

(Video) Qualitative research methods

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Some researchers also use mixed research approaches like participant observation as their data analysis tool.

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Features of Qualitative Research Methods

Some of the different features of the qualitative research methods are given below:

  • They are used to gather information at the location where the respondents usually experience problems. This is real-time information that forces the participants to come out of their geographic environment to assemble it.
  • The researchers do not just focus on a single source of data. Instead, they collect data from different sources like interviews, observations, and documents.
  • They also work to solve complicated problems by breaking them down into useful inferences. It makes it simple to understand and read.
  • Lastly, such communicative methods can lead people to easily build their trust in the researcher.

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Methods of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research design reveals the attitude of the target audience with reference to a particular topic. They basically originate from behavioral and social science. Moreover, it presents detailed outcomes and the inferences can be described easily from the data analysis.

Here are most commonly used qualitative methods are:

  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Case Study
  • Record Keeping
  • Content Analysis
  • Focus Groups

Types of Qualitative Research - Methods and Examples (9)

In-Depth Interviews

Organizing in-depth interviews is the most common method for qualitative research. It is a conversational method that involves one participant at a time.

The benefits of this approach include collecting data about what people believe and what their motivations are. Such interviews can be conducted face-to-face or on the telephone.

However, it can last from half an hour to two hours. Lastly, it provides a better idea of the respondent’s body language.


It's a mechanism using empirical methodologies to collect systematic sources of data. Primarily, a participant is used to compare differences. This includes five essential sensory organs and their functions i.e.

  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Touch

Focus Groups

A focus group involves a limited number of participants used for data collection. Such a target audience is there to find the responses to ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ questions.

Moreover, it does not require a researcher to necessarily communicate with the group directly. Instead, online surveys can be sent on several devices to collect the answers.

This method is considered expensive in contrast to other qualitative research methods. Nevertheless, It is useful when it comes to market research and testing of new products.

Case Study

This method has advanced over the past few years. It is mainly used within a number of areas to explain an organization or an entity.

Content Analysis

It is used for studying documents and communication artifacts. Social scientists use it to examine the study pattern in a systematic manner.


It uses reliable existing documents and similar information sources as the data source. To gather relevant data, a researcher may go over books and other reference material. It can be used in a new research study.

You can get a better understanding of the qualitative research method by going through a detailed guide.

(Video) Qualitative research methodology I qualitative research methods an overview

Types of research have always been a hot topic. This blog has provided you everything to get started with your qualitative research paper.

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What are the types of qualitative research and its example? ›

There are different types of qualitative research methods like an in-depth interview, focus groups, ethnographic research, content analysis, case study research that are usually used. The results of qualitative methods are more descriptive and the inferences can be drawn quite easily from the data that is obtained.

What are the 5 types of qualitative research explain each type? ›

Grounded theory, ethnographic, narrative research, historical, case studies, and phenomenology are several types of qualitative research designs.

What is the types of qualitative research methods? ›

Qualitative research focuses on gaining insight and understanding about an individual's perception of events and circumstances. Six common types of qualitative research are phenomenological, ethnographic, grounded theory, historical, case study, and action research.

What are the 6 types of qualitative research Please provide a brief explanation in each type? ›

The Names of the Six Types of Qualitative Market Research
  • Phenomenological Method (deriving from phenomena)
  • Ethnographic Model.
  • Grounded Theory Method.
  • Case Study Model.
  • Historical Model.
  • Narrative Model.

What are 10 examples of qualitative research? ›

10 Examples of Qualitative Data
  • Observation Notes.
  • Semi-structured interviews. ...
  • Open-ended survey.
  • Participant diaries or journals. ...
  • Portfolios of evidence. ...
  • Concept Maps. ...
  • Case Studies. ...
  • Focus Groups.

What is an example of a qualitative collection method? ›

Some of the most common qualitative data collection techniques include open-ended surveys and questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, observation, case studies, and so on.

What are the five qualitative methods give its meaning? ›

The Five Qualitative approach is a method to framing Qualitative Research, focusing on the methodologies of five of the major traditions in qualitative research: biography, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, and case study.

What are the 5 types of qualitative research design which could be used as technique in collecting and analyzing data? ›

A popular and helpful categorization separate qualitative methods into five groups: ethnography, narrative, phenomenological, grounded theory, and case study. John Creswell outlines these five methods in Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design.

What is the most popular methods of qualitative research? ›

One-to-one interviews are the most commonly used qualitative research method. They are semi-structured, which means that the questions to be asked and issues to be addressed are fluid and take shape as the interview unfolds.

What are examples of qualitative research questions? ›

Qualitative research questions are open-ended and seek to explore a given topic in-depth.
For example:
  • What are people's thoughts on the new library?
  • How does it feel to be a first-generation student at our school?
  • How do people feel about the changes taking place in our town?

What are the 4 main methods in collecting qualitative data? ›

The methods mentioned in the blog – interviews, surveys, group discussions, and observations are the most widely and commonly used qualitative data collection methods.

What is qualitative and example? ›

Qualitative data describes qualities or characteristics. It is collected using questionnaires, interviews, or observation, and frequently appears in narrative form. For example, it could be notes taken during a focus group on the quality of the food at Cafe Mac, or responses from an open-ended questionnaire.

What is one example of qualitative data and one example of quantitative data? ›

Examples of quantitative data include numerical values such as measurements, cost, and weight; examples of qualitative data include descriptions (or labels) of certain attributes, such as “brown eyes” or “vanilla flavored ice cream”.

What is the best example of a quantitative method? ›

An example of quantitative research is the survey conducted to understand the amount of time a doctor takes to tend to a patient when the patient walks into the hospital.

What are the five examples of quantitative research? ›

There are five main types of quantitative research designs and they are:
  • Descriptive Research Design.
  • Survey Research.
  • Correlational Research Design.
  • Quasi-experimental Research Design.
  • Experimental Research Design.

What are the 4 types of research methods? ›

There are four main types of Quantitative research: Descriptive, Correlational, Causal-Comparative/Quasi-Experimental, and Experimental Research. attempts to establish cause- effect relationships among the variables.

What is the easiest qualitative research method? ›

Content analysis is possibly the most common and straightforward QDA method. At the simplest level, content analysis is used to evaluate patterns within a piece of content (for example, words, phrases or images) or across multiple pieces of content or sources of communication.

Why is qualitative research the best method? ›

Principal findings: Qualitative research methods are valuable in providing rich descriptions of complex phenomena; tracking unique or unexpected events; illuminating the experience and interpretation of events by actors with widely differing stakes and roles; giving voice to those whose views are rarely heard; ...

What is the most used method of research? ›

Most frequently used methods include:
  • Observation / Participant Observation.
  • Surveys.
  • Interviews.
  • Focus Groups.
  • Experiments.
  • Secondary Data Analysis / Archival Study.
  • Mixed Methods (combination of some of the above)
21 Sept 2018

What are examples of qualitative data for students? ›

In a school setting, qualitative data may include:
  • Notes from classroom observations.
  • A student's work sample with comments from their teacher.
  • Feedback from a teacher about a student's progress.
  • A transcript from a focus group with parents.
  • Audio/visual recordings of a class.
  • A transcript from a staff meeting.
14 Apr 2022

What is qualitative research answers? ›

The focus of qualitative research is on finding the answers to questions which begin with: why? how? in what way?
  • Why people behave the way they do.
  • How opinions and attitudes are formed.
  • How people are affected by the events that go on around them.
  • How and why cultures have developed in the way they have.

What are examples of qualitative measures? ›

A qualitative measurement is a measurement that is descriptive. Examples include whether an apple is sweet or sour, the color of the apple, and the apple species.

What is an example of quantitative example? ›

Weight in pounds. Length in inches. Distance in miles. Number of days in a year.

What are 3 examples of qualitative observation? ›

Some examples of qualitative observations are texture (smooth or rough), taste (sweet or salty), temperature (hot or cold), and even mood (angry or happy).

What are 3 examples of qualitative variables? ›

Qualitative Variable: What is it?
  • Eye colors (variables include: blue, green, brown, hazel).
  • States (variables include: Florida, New Jersey, Washington).
  • Dog breeds (variables include: Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Shih tzu).

What are the types of research methods and explain each? ›

There are two main categories of research methods: qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods. Quantitative research methods involve using numbers to measure data. Researchers can use statistical analysis to find connections and meaning in the data.

What are different types of research explain with example? ›

Examples of data collection methods
Research methodPrimary or secondary?Qualitative or quantitative?
Interview/focus groupPrimaryQualitative
Literature reviewSecondaryEither
Case studyEitherEither
2 more rows

What are the different types of research methods PDF? ›

The type of research classified as pure research, applied research, descriptive research, analytical research, fundamental research, conceptual research, empirical research, longitudinal research, laboratory research, exploratory research, conclusion oriented research.

What are the 8 methods of collecting data? ›

Eight super-effective data collection methods to try
  • Online forms and questionnaires. Online forms are one of the most sought-after and effective primary data collection methods. ...
  • Interviews. ...
  • Surveys. ...
  • Observation. ...
  • Focus groups. ...
  • Online tracking. ...
  • Social media monitoring. ...
  • Transactional tracking.
20 Jun 2022

What are the 5 methods of data collection? ›

Here are the top 5 data collection methods and examples that we've summarized for you:
  • Surveys and Questionnaires. ...
  • Interviews. ...
  • Observations. ...
  • Records and Documents. ...
  • Focus Groups.
15 Sept 2021

What is qualitative and examples? ›

Qualitative data describes qualities or characteristics. It is collected using questionnaires, interviews, or observation, and frequently appears in narrative form. For example, it could be notes taken during a focus group on the quality of the food at Cafe Mac, or responses from an open-ended questionnaire.

What are 3 qualitative examples? ›

Qualitative Information – Involves a descriptive judgment using concept words instead of numbers. Gender, country name, animal species, and emotional state are examples of qualitative information.

What is an example of qualitative data What is an example of qualitative data? ›

What are some examples of qualitative data analysis? Qualitative data analysis examples include taking a closer look at results from surveys, online reviews, website recordings, emails, interviews, and other text sources by using tools and methods like: Thematic analysis with tools like Thematic.com and EnjoyHQ.

What is a qualitative research question example? ›

Examples of qualitative research questions: What is it like growing up in a single-parent family in a rural environment? What are the experiences of people working night shifts in health care? How would overweight people describe their meal times while dieting?

What are 5 examples of quantitative research? ›

There are five main types of quantitative research designs and they are:
  • Descriptive Research Design.
  • Survey Research.
  • Correlational Research Design.
  • Quasi-experimental Research Design.
  • Experimental Research Design.

Which of the following is an example of a qualitative measure? ›

A qualitative measurement is a measurement that is descriptive. Examples include whether an apple is sweet or sour, the color of the apple, and the apple species.


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